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Contactless payment spending limit increases in response to Covid-19

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Contactless payment spending limit increases in response to Covid-19

In response to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, the UK Government has pushed through plans to increase the spending limit on contactless credit and debit cards.

Contactless payments can now be made on payments up to £45, an increase from the previous limit of £30.


These changes to the spending limit were already being considered by the Government, but the decision was expedited to help make transactions safer during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

As people try to make more infrequent, but more expensive shopping trips for essential items such as medicines and groceries during the lockdown, the increase in the contactless spending limit is intended to make shopping safer for both customers and retailers.

Paying in cash has been discouraged and even banned in some places to reduce the need for cashiers to handle potentially contaminated money, meaning even more transactions are now being completed with credit and debit cards.

Increasing the contactless limit to £45 allows more customers to complete more purchases of higher value without the need to touch a chip and PIN keypad, meaning that they are less exposed to potentially contaminated keypads.

So, we know how this change will affect customers, but what about retailers?

What does the contactless payment limit increase mean for your business?

Contactless payments are incredibly convenient for customers, there’s no need to input a PIN meaning they can tap and go when they’re in a rush. Increasing the spending limit means that there is also an increase in this convenience for customers.

And, for your business, this spending limit increase means that customers can purchase even more from your stores without any infringement on their convenience.

Increasing the spending limit may encourage more customers to spend more money with you. Especially as the current fears around the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis has made people more wary of touching public surfaces.

What do businesses need to do?

Behind the scenes, all the work has been done by the payments industry to make this change possible. The infrastructure has been implemented to make the contactless spending limit change possible.

This is an understandably challenging time for businesses. The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has led a number of non-essential businesses and retailers to shut their doors for the foreseeable future.

The payments industry has taken this into consideration with the rolling out of these spending increase changes.

And, therefore, the priority for these changes is, importantly, on retailers who provide essential goods and services such as groceries and medicines as well as other vital items.

To implement the changes, retailers and businesses are advised to contact their payment acquirer to request confirmation that the necessary changes have been made to their payment systems.

Once these necessary changes have been implemented, businesses will be able to accept contactless payments from customers up to the new higher spending limit of £45.

However, at RSM 2000, we have already checked with our terminal suppliers and they have confirmed they are either ready with or are preparing configuration changes to be sent to the terminals as part of their regularly scheduled updates.

Most terminals will check overnight for any changes so this amended limit should be deployed quickly and automatically and no intervention should be required by merchants using RSM 2000 supplied equipment.

The changes should have already been deployed to all RSM 2000 provided terminals. However, if your terminal hasn’t been updated speak to us today and we can help to get you ready to accept the higher contactless spending limit.

RSM 2000 Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (register reference 729928) for the provision of payment services.

RSM 2000 Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for Consumer Credit Activity (register reference 715057).